Revisiting ATLetic’s 2014-2015 Season
VaHi ATLetic FC completed a very positive season achieving and surpassing the Club’s goals with a 4th spot finish in the league and securing D2 status for next season while mounting on a deep Perrin Cup run making all the way to the semi-finals.
The season started with tryout and practice sessions in Mid August followed by key pre-season games. Early work helped finding new talent to strengthen the team in key areas and allowed new players to slowly acquire ATLetic’s football philosophy. ATLetic’s roster was a mix of veteran players forming the backbone of the team including keeper and co-Captain Scott Stilwell, centerbacks Milos Kvasay and Silviu Raducu, wingback Folusho Erogbogbo, midfielders Felipe Lobelo and Federico Stock, forward John King and later in the season the return of ATLetic’s all-time leading scorer, Aaron King.
ADASL started with a rough awakening (4-0 defeat at home) against eventual D2 runner-ups Little Five FC, one of the two teams that completed the double against ATLetic. The team slowly started stringing better results and finished with 2 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw before the winter break. A number of postponed games over the season created a difficult scenario for ATLetic to maintain momentum. However, good team organization and player commitment resulted in the team stringing 3-game winning league runs twice and also staying alive in the Cup all the way to the semis.
ATLetic’s goal for the league was to allow the team to be in position to challenge for the D2 title and promotion to D1 for the crucial last 5 games of the season. Wins against Terminus FC and KSA 18’s kept the dream alive and with several games at hand, including both games against eventual D2 group winners Arsenal Atlanta, ATLetic had their fate in their hands.
However key defeats against Arsenal and Nuesoft II left ATLetic out of contention in March. With a number of games at hand the team kept their composure and kept their focus late in the league, taking care of business to secure D2 status next season and clinching 4th spot in their group and 8th spot overall over the 20 teams in D2.
ATLetic once again based their season on a strong defensive record, becoming the top 6th D2 defense allowing 1.5 goals per game. Keeper’s Stilwell and Anderson combined for 7 league clean sheets.
Striker Aaron King was again ATletic’s top scorer for the season netting 9 in the league and 3 in the Cup, despite only playing half a season and returning more than a goal per game. Newcomers Cole Guertin (4), Hayden Kaminski (3) and Brandon O’toole (3) also contributed. Overall, 11 players opened their scoring accounts for ATletic on what was a balanced approach to scoring with an average of 2 goals per game and goals from set pieces, open combination play and counter-attacks.
Here is a recap of the season stats:
Perrin Cup recap
ATLetic’s best performance came in the Perrin Cup where they battle all the way to the semi-finals, defeating D1 KLS Silverbacks (1st round) and Majestic White (quarters) and D2 side Relegators FC (2nd round) before falling against eventual D1-side and Champions Atlanta Elite FC in the semis. ATLetic proved they can compete toe-to-toe against any of the 30+ teams in the ADASL over 90 minutes of play, claiming two D1-side scalps in the process. Th team excelled at playing “their way” to win games against technically better teams on paper. Perrin Cup runs typically unite sides around a goal and this time was no exception, lifting their spirits in the process.
ATLetic started their Cup run by overcoming a 1-o deficit and turning the game around on a late 2-1 winner against D1 side KLS Silverbacks. Then came a strong all-around performance against Relegators (4-1) in the second round. A season defining performance came in the quarter-finals against long-time rivals Majestic White who had gain promotion to D1 a year earlier. A cagey match, typical of Cup late rounds, was only decided late in the game when a controversial no-call lead to an 85th minute goal by Majestic White. It would have been easy for ATLetic to capitulate and play the blame game at that point. However, their own pride and team resolution kept them alive with a last-minute equalizer by Cole Guertin of the spot. With spirits high it was the turn for team Captain and keeper Scott Stilwell to shine on PK’s to send ATLetic to their first ever Cup semis.
ATletic went down against a strong Atlanta Elite team that scored off a corner kick second play on the first half. The boys battled their way to an equalizer off the shoulders of an impressive multi-shot stopping performance by keeper Ian Anderson who kept them alive. The arduous defensive team effort was rewarded when they found a late equalizer when Aaron King scored on a breakaway, reviving their quarter-final spirit. King had an additional chance for a famous game winner on a last-minute break away but saw his shot go high by inches. ATLetic battled the heat, injuries and exhaustion until the 119th minute of extra-time when another long cross was capitalized by the Elite side. Sometimes the football Gods give and sometimes they take and that’s the reason this is the beautiful game.
Preparations for a a new ADASL season will start soon. ATLetic will look to keep building on top of what it was a strong season and keep taking the Club to uncharted territory while maintainign the one-game at a time mantra as foundation for success. As ADASL moves back to a 3 division system competition will for sure be tougher this year. However, ATLetic has proved that hard work and team-oriented efforts will allow them to compete against any team. Football has no memory so returning a new players will be called upon to step up throughout the season.
Stay tuned for team news, tryouts and pre-season games here ad our Facebook and Twitter feeds – as always